Christmas was not normally one of Sirius’ favourite times of year. It was filled with obnoxious, pure-blood parties, his crazy mother and time away from his friends at Hogwarts. This year, he had dug his heels in and refused to be dragged back to Grimmauld Place. After his “blatant disregard for proper wizarding society” shown last summer - when he had paraded around in Muggle clothing and “vandalised” his room with images from Muggle magazines - his mother had not really put up much of a fight in forcing him to return. Instead she seemed rather glad to not have him back in the house. After all, he would just disrupt what would be a series of extremely boring meals with the Malfoys by spouting his blood-traitor propaganda. Consequentially, he was rather looking forward to Christmas this year.
Sirius had plans for the break. Not only would he be at Hogwarts, but so would Remus. It had been a year since he had first realised it. A year since the dreams had started. A year since Sirius had looked at Remus with something more than friendship in mind. The initial shock that had come from waking up sticky, sweaty and a little out of breath with the image of Remus burned into his mind had soon dissipated and was instead replaced with embarrassment – particularly when he was around Remus. Sirius’ thoughts strayed to his night-time fantasies far too easily in the presence of his friend; made all the worse by the fact that there was no way to escape Remus when he both lived and went to class with him. Now, Sirius had decided it was time to say something. He desperately hoped that he wasn’t imagining it, but of late he had been feeling as though there were a chance Remus may return the attraction.
Having been downstairs to see James and Peter off from the entrance hall, Sirius made his way back to the Gryffindor Tower passing the last few straggling students as he went. They all chattered and joked with their friends, excited to be making the journey home. Yet Sirius could not help but grin at the thought of not having to leave. He took the stairs two at a time on his way back, not wanting to miss another moment with Remus. All he had to do was let the other boy know how he felt and they’d be snogging before lunch with the entire dormitory to themselves for a whole two weeks. Who could ask for a better Christmas?
He gave the Fat Lady the password with a wink and a smile. The Portrait Hole opened to silence. Highly unusual for Gryffindor, but expected as most people had chosen to return home. Sirius expected Remus to be where they had left him: sat at one of the tables going over something he probably already knew.
Instead, Remus was wrapped in that ginger harpy’s embrace. Like she hadn’t already got her claws in James! Now she was after his Remus as well? Not on. Not at all on.
Sirius stood rooted to the spot. He wasn’t sure what he was more upset about: that Remus was snogging Lily, that his plans for Christmas had clearly been ruined or that now he was going to have to deal with James’ moping about because Lily wanted to snog Remus and not him. Nothing good could come from this.
The small smile and flushed cheeks of Remus when he pulled away from Lily spurred Sirius into action. Not wanting to waste any of his family-free time around his traitor of a best friend, he spun on his heel and stomped back out of the room. He only distantly heard Lily mumble that she had to go before she missed the train. That she wasn’t actually staying didn’t matter. That she had kissed Remus did.
Warming charm keeping him nice and toasty, Sirius decided that being alone for Christmas wasn’t that bad. He could sit here and do exactly what he wanted and not get in trouble for borrowing a certain person’s last piece of parchment to doodle on. Watching the first flakes of snow gently drift towards the ground was just as good as kissing Remus. A rather undignified snort escaped him at the thought. Even he couldn’t convince himself of that.
“What are you sulking up here for?” Sirius turned to find Remus in the doorway of the tower, Marauder’s Map clutched tightly in his hand and shivering slightly from the cold that was quickly permeating his clothes.
“’m not sulking,” Sirius said and faced the snow-sprinkled grounds once more, ignoring the soft footfalls that grew steadily louder as Remus approached him.
“You want me to believe that you sitting at the top of the Astronomy Tower, in the middle of winter, is not you pouting over something having not gone your way?” Remus asked, crouching down next to Sirius. He placed a hand on Sirius’ shoulder and reluctantly Sirius turned to meet his gaze.
“Blacks don’t pout,” Sirius smirked and arched an eyebrow, perfectly sculpted of course, at Remus. “We brood.”
“Well stop brooding then and come back down so we can get nice and warm by the fire.”
Sirius rolled his eyes and cast a warming charm on Remus’ clothes. “Now you’re warm too.”
“That isn’t what I really wanted and you know it.”
“Look, I just wanted to give you some time with your girlfriend. It’s not like you’ll be getting any otherwise.”
“What? No! She’s not my girlfriend! She was just saying goodbye before she left for the holidays.”
“Oh, and I suppose people always say goodbye with their tongues do they?” Sirius snapped and shrugged his shoulder to dislodge Remus’ hand that had still been placed there. As much as he appreciated the touch, he was still angry that Remus had decided that Lily, who James was head over heels for, was a better choice than he was. That Remus had no idea Sirius was an option didn’t matter. He should just know. You know?
“Well, yeah Padfoot, people normally do say goodbye with their tongues,” Remus laughed and gave Sirius a small nudge.
Sirius shook his head and lowered his eyes. “That’s not what I meant and you know it! What in Merlin’s name did you think you were doing kissing Lily?”
“You’re not going to tell James are you? It really wasn’t what it looked like. I don’t want James to-“
“Oh will you just shut up about Prongs! This isn’t to do with him it’s to do with-“
“To do with what?”
“Nothing. It’s nothing forget I said anything. Mouth running away with me. That’s all. You’re right, it’s cold. We should go back.”
Sirius made no move to leave. Remus had stood up and was hovering at his shoulder. Just because Moony said to jump didn’t mean anything. That his cushioning charms weren’t brilliant and his arse was starting to get numb may soon become a factor though.
“There was mistletoe and she kissed me. Believe me when I say I didn’t want to.”
“It doesn’t matter. You’ve done it now,” Sirius muttered dejectedly, ignoring the small spark of hope that flared at the words. He wasn’t going to let himself fall for it. Remus may have not wanted to kiss Lily, but that didn’t mean he would have preferred to kiss Sirius instead. Wishful thinking on his part had clearly clouded his mind where Remus was concerned.
“But I won’t be doing it again.” Remus reached down and grabbed Sirius by the sleeve and tugged in what was clearly an attempt to make him get to his feet as well. “Come on. Me, you and the comfy sofa in front of the fire. Let’s start this holiday as we mean to go on.”
“Fine, I suppose I can put up with that. Just don’t go getting off with any more girls between here and there.”
“I won’t,” Remus grinned and pulled Sirius towards him, resting his forehead against the side of Sirius face. His hair tickled Sirius, but he found he didn’t mind; happy to have Remus so close to him. “I have no plans to do it ever again.”
With James, Sirius always found the need to be loud. To be plotting something, anything, just to avoid actually sitting down to do work. He always needed to be on the move, making some noise, antagonising Snape and the other Slytherins. There was a constant need to be performing. As though if he stopped, the other Gryffindors would think differently of him. That he wasn’t actually a Gryffindor. That the Hat had Sorted him incorrectly. That people may doubt him because being reserved may make them consider him secretly Slytherin like the rest of them. However, alone with Remus, things were different. Sirius could relax and not have to be the centre of attention. Remus knew him for who he was and wasn’t going to judge him.
A few days after everyone had cleared out of Gryffindor Tower, Sirius sat contentedly on the sofa. He reclined with his back against one of its arms, legs stretched out in front of him and his feet nice and warm underneath Remus. When he had first wormed his toes underneath Remus’ bum, the other boy had briefly glanced up, one eyebrow raised, but turned back to the book he was reading with a slight shake of his head and no sound of protest. Instead, Remus had just arranged himself more comfortably and Sirius was almost certain he had seen an amused smile play at the corner of Remus’ mouth. It was hardly Sirius’ fault his feet were cold and that Remus was so perfectly positioned to warm them up.
They hadn’t spoken any more about what had happened with Lily. Remus didn’t seem inclined to and Sirius certainly didn’t want to think of it any more. Unfortunately, it was not the end of the matter on Sirius’ part. Despite his best efforts, Sirius was having trouble forgetting what he had seen. That night when he had settled down to go to sleep, the image of Remus and Lily had swum mockingly to the forefront of his mind where it refused to budge. Even asleep Lily’s presence had haunted him. For the first time dreams of Remus had become something more akin to nightmares.
On the plus side, Remus’ behaviour towards him hadn’t changed in the daytime. Sirius had yet to make up his mind about Remus’ comment on not kissing another girl again. It was most likely just Remus trying to placate him. He wasn’t proud of it, but Sirius had a jealous streak. If he wasn’t getting his own way and someone else had what he wanted, then there was going to be hell to pay. When he had met the small, eager, bright-eyed youngsters who would soon become the Marauders, it was the first time that he had truly had friends of his own. People he desired to be around because of his own choosing instead of those carefully selected by his parents to get ahead in the right circles. The strong bonds of friendship formed between the four meant more to him than anything and he was extremely loath to the idea of losing them to usurpers. He would do absolutely anything for them and knew that they would do the same for him. To say that his attraction towards Remus had made Sirius a bit more possessive of him was a little bit of an understatement. When Remus had kissed Lily, it had caused a tightening in Sirius’ chest that he had never felt before. A hot, burning anger had shot through him, and the more he thought about it, the more he felt it came down to some ridiculous, non-existent betrayal on Remus’ part and not on Lily. It was irrational, yet Sirius couldn’t help but feel Remus had chosen Lily over him.
“Remus?” Sirius said suddenly with a wriggle of his toes in the hopes of getting Remus to look at him. When Remus did at last finish the page he was on - Sirius was sure he was drawing it out on purpose - and meet his eyes, his curiosity clear on his face, Sirius felt his heart flutter rather pathetically in his chest. His brain in wanting to distance himself from getting hurt further by Remus’ misguided mistletoe kisses was clearly at war with his heart. The annoying thing wanted him to just moon over his friend, which was not going to happen. Even if he did want Remus, he couldn’t bring himself to do anything now with the ever present image of Evans haunting him at every turn. “Fancy popping to the Three Broomsticks? We can grab a Butterbeer or two.”
Not a date. Just two friends going for a drink together. That’s all it was. Sirius still felt apprehensive asking all the same. Stupid really when even if Remus rejected the idea and preferred to stay in the peace and quiet of the common room instead, it wouldn’t be Sirius he was really turning down. At least not in the way Sirius was feeling that he would be rebuffed.
Sirius closed his mouth. The words ‘it’s fine, we don’t have to, it was just an idea’ died on his lips. Instead a huge grin spread across his face. Remus had agreed to go with him.
“I mean it’ll be nice to visit Hogsmeade and just sit quietly for once instead of running from one shop to another like headless chickens.”
Sirius didn’t see why anyone would want to charm chickens to run around without their heads, or what such a feat would accomplish, but the idea of going to Hogsmeade alone with Remus made him not care enough to ask.
A quick trip back up to their room to get kitted out in clothing to protect them from the winter chill - and so that Sirius could get some shoes, which would hopefully keep his feet nice and toasty instead of the icicles they liked to pretend to be - and they were ready to go. Not wanting to draw attention to them leaving the castle and obviously being without James’ Invisibility Cloak (the selfish git) they had to resort to leaving via one of the secret passages they had recently discovered in their exploration of the grounds. The latest of which came out in the basement of Honeydukes and was, in Sirius’ opinion, the perfect tunnel for such an excursion as it allowed them to stock up on sweets for what promised to be an extremely meagre snack period in the next three days before Christmas.
Walking through the tunnel seemed to take forever. It was dark and if Sirius wasn’t careful to watch his feet in the wandlight then he kept stumbling. Luckily, Remus seemed steadier in the dark. Clearly he was less eager to get to the end of the tunnel and outside to where they could spend time together, in the daylight. Not that this was a date. It just felt different to normal somehow. With every stumble, Remus would laugh quietly, tease Sirius for the fact he was acting like Padfoot just before a good run on the full moon, but still hold out a hand to steady him.
They successfully sneaked out of Honeydukes and onto the street and were finally in Hogsmeade. The snow that Sirius had started to watch falling the other day had not only stuck, but each subsequent day had added a layer of its own so that the village looked idyllic - like something off those Muggle cards that Evans handed out every year before she left to go home. No, Sirius stopped himself. He wasn’t going to think about Lily. Not now. Footprints had spoilt the perfect look of the white powder covering the ground, but Sirius managed to find some to walk through to add his own mark free of other people’s. Remus had looked on at him for a moment as Sirius had searched to find unblemished snow, but once he had realised the other boy wasn’t following, Sirius had grabbed Remus by the hand and dragged his laughing friend after him in what some people may have deemed to be ‘frolicking in the snow’. However, Sirius preferred the word ‘romping’.
Twenty minutes later, sporting red, flushed cheeks from the aforementioned romping, Sirius and Remus eventually decided that enough was enough and the warming effects of a good Butterbeer were definitely in order. The two were the youngest patrons by far in the Three Broomsticks that day. Yet despite the fact that the barmaid was clearly aware of the fact they were of Hogwarts age and therefore should not be frequenting the bar on such a day, she turned a blind eye. She was instead more than happy to accept their patronage and leave them to their table without any fuss. That Sirius had given her a rather large tip may have had something to do with her willingness to not report them to Dumbledore.
“Here,” Remus offered when Sirius got to the table. He pushed the amount necessary to purchase a Butterbeer toward Sirius who looked down at them in confusion as he placed Remus’ tankard down and took a sip of his own.
“What’re they for?”
“To pay for my drink.”
“Nah, it’s fine. I got this round, you get the next.” Sirius pushed them back towards Remus as he took his seat.
“You know damn well you’re just going to decide we should go before getting another round. You’ll act as though it’s because you want to go back, but I know you’re just trying to save me money, and it’s insulting. I can pay for my own drink.” Remus shoved the coins back. “Just take them and be done with it.”
“I know you can pay just fine, just let me do it this once.”
“You always say that.” This time, as Sirius tried to give the money back, Remus anticipated it and clamped his own down firmly on top of Sirius’ hand. He pushed on Sirius’ hand until the coins were in front of Sirius once more. “Now keep them or I’ll hex your fingers off.”
Sirius laughed, but conceded victory to Remus. Remus had left his fingers resting on top of Sirius’ as he raised his drink to his lips with his free hand. Sirius watched mesmerised as Remus took a sip and his pink tongue darted out to catch the stray drop of the golden liquid that clung his lips. Maybe he should talk to someone about turning down the heating charms in here, because it was far too warm.
As though suddenly realising where his hand was, Remus yanked it back and the heat Sirius had been feeling dissipated only to leave him feeling cold and wanting and confused.
“Fine, I’ll take them,” Sirius choked out after a minute and put the coins away, trying not to stare at the infuriatingly stubborn bastard that was Remus Lupin.
They drank and talked for a while longer. Sirius noticed every now and again that his hand seemed happy to stray towards Remus’ without him realising; sometimes almost close enough to be touching. Whenever that happened Sirius made sure to punctuate his speech with movements of his hands, it allowed him to move them away without being obvious. He wasn’t sure if he was more worried that Remus would pull away again should their hands meet or that Remus thought he was purposely distancing himself so that they didn’t brush.
Sirius glanced around to check how many people were at the bar so he could decide if it was worth the effort of going to grab them another round. A couple of lads who looked as though they were a few years out of Hogwarts were chatting up Rosmerta, but other than that, the bar was rather deserted. Most patrons were settled down at tables with drinks clutched in their hands and laughter spilling from their lips; everyone was in good spirits with the holidays being so close. When he turned back, a flash of green and white caught his attention. There, hanging above Remus’ head, was a sprig of mistletoe.
For a moment, Sirius couldn’t look away. Was mistletoe attracted to Remus? First it had sneaked its way above him and Lily and now appeared out of thin air whilst sitting at a table with Sirius. Sirius supposed he could kiss Remus. Just a quick, quick peck on the lips, blame it on the mistletoe and then dash to the bar before Remus had the chance to object. It wasn’t as though it was that special strain that the Prewitt brothers had invented. Their mistletoe had caused so many problems – it had a perverted sense of humour and liked pairing Hufflepuff first years with Slytherin seventh years – that even Dumbledore had insisted upon its removal and banned it. Normally, Sirius wouldn’t have cared. It was just a kiss. It would just be because of the mocking mistletoe if he were to kiss Remus now instead of finding out where Remus stood on the matter first. Remus was one of his best friends and the last thing he wanted was to royally fuck things up by rushing in and not thinking. He took his eyes off the plant, instead attempting to turn his attention back to Remus. Ignoring the mistletoe was the best course of action. His gaze flickered upward momentarily, then back at Remus, then back up to the-
Sirius lunged forwards. In his haste he nearly knocked his chair over. He pressed his lips to Remus’.
One second. That was all he would allow himself. It was just a kiss because of the mistletoe after all. Drawing it out wouldn’t be fair on Remus. Though, if that were the case, why couldn’t he pull away? Why couldn’t he stop? Why did it feel like Remus wasn’t pulling away?
A hand came up and rested on his shoulder. It startled him back to himself, and Sirius pulled away. He could feel his heart pounding against his ribs and was certain that Remus must be able to hear it. How could he not? It was that loud.
“Mistletoe,” Sirius said as though it answered everything and could be used as an excuse for the red that he was certain coloured his cheeks, certainly not there because of the cold anymore. He looked up at it and seeing it disappear off to another table to torment other unsuspecting people.
“Sirius?” Remus, slightly short of breath, squeezed Sirius’ shoulder. “Let’s go back to the castle.”
“What? Why? It was just the mistletoe!” Sirius protested. It was just his luck. Remus was going to reprimand him like the time he and James had hexed Aubrey. That still came back to bite him whenever Remus got angry. He knew the kiss had been a bad idea. If there was one thing Remus hated, it was having attention drawn to himself, because in his crazy, irrational mind, it meant that if people paid him attention for more than two seconds then they’d just know, declare him a werewolf and kick him out of Hogwarts. Though, as Sirius constantly argued, just because James, Peter and he had worked it out didn’t mean that other people would figure it out too. It had taken them a whole year, and like any of the idiots that were around could ever top them and work it out quicker. Impossible! Try telling that to Remus though.
“Mistletoe or not, some privacy might be nice.”
“Fine,” Sirius grumbled, annoyed that on top of the Evans stuff he was now in trouble.
“Sirius, sometimes, you can be a right idiot.” When he looked, Sirius realised that Remus was smiling, something which would never happen if he were annoyed - that only involved a lot of cutely furrowed eyebrows and slightly pouting lips. Remus’ hand left Sirius’ shoulder and instead he intertwined their fingers.
A million things sprang to Sirius’ mind to say, and yet not a single one made it to his mouth - which was completely dry. He stared down at their hands, not entirely believing what it implied, but excited all the same. Perhaps the appearance of mistletoe was a good thing after all. For the first time since he had stormed out of the common room he didn’t feel even the smallest sliver of jealousy.
Action, however, action was something Sirius could do. Forget the words. At least for now. With a squeeze of his hand, Sirius straightened. Knowing that standing and walking out with linked fingers was potentially waking a completely different beast to just sitting where no one was paying them any attention, Sirius reluctantly let go of Remus’ hand and headed out the door. As much as Sirius would love to walk around proclaiming his feelings for Remus and holding his hand and snogging him in public, he knew it wasn’t for the best. Not now.
If there was one thing Sirius knew, it was that his family would cause more trouble than normal if they were to find out he had been kissing a half-blooded boy whilst illegally out in Hogsmeade. There was no way Sirius would subject Remus to that. He couldn’t save him from his lycanthropy anymore than he already had, but if there was absolutely anything else he could do, he was going to do it, because Remus was... well, what was he? They hadn’t got that far yet. Maybe Sirius was getting ahead of himself, but he wanted Remus to be his. His, dare he even think it, boyfriend. Stupid word really. They could work something else out he supposed. As long as they were together. Sirius didn’t think Remus was really one to just go kissing people and holding their hand afterwards. He hadn’t done that with Lily. Not the handholding part anyway. At least not as far as Sirius knew.
Sirius was broken out of his jumbled thoughts by Remus waving his hand impatiently in front of Sirius’ face. He figured he must have been staring off into space like an idiot. Remus’ smile was near-blinding. It was as though he had been waiting for this for just as long as Sirius and now, having finally got what he wanted, he couldn’t contain his happiness.
“I thought we were going back?”
“We are,” Sirius replied with a grin of his own, that made Remus’ smile wider, if that was at all possible.
Their trip back involved more stumbling than the journey there. This time it was not only Sirius who was unsure on his feet. Not able to quite believe his luck, Sirius couldn’t help but stop and pull Remus towards him for kiss after kiss. When they finally made it to the end of the tunnel, laughing and a little breathless, it seemed like a year had passed. So much had happened between them, and yet barely anything at all. Sirius still really had no real idea of where he stood, other than the fact that Remus did seem to actually want to kiss him.
They managed to keep their hands to themselves the rest of the journey back to the common room. It was extraordinarily difficult, but Sirius was rather proud of the amount of restraint he showed. All he wanted was to touch Remus and never stop, hold Remus and never let go, kiss Remus and never letup. Despite it all, once they were actually in the Gryffindor Tower, everything seemed more real. The familiarity of the room contrasted sharply with how new everything else was. They paused once they got inside. They looked at one another.
“I can’t believe you want this. You do, right?” Sirius blurted out after what was possibly one of their most uncomfortable silences ever.
“I want this? Of course I do! Are you crazy? I’m the one who can’t believe that you want me. I mean why would you-”
Sirius stopped him by placing a finger to his lips.
“Don’t even bother thinking the end of that sentence, Remus. You are so gorgeous and you don’t even see it. How someone can be so smart and so stupid at the same time is beyond me.” Sirius moved his fingers from Remus’ lips to instead cup the side of Remus’ face. “You have no idea how long I’ve wanted to do this,” Sirius breathed and pressed his mouth against Remus’ once more.
Remus pulled him closer; his tongue darted out to tease at Sirius’ lips. With a bit of manoeuvring, Sirius backed Remus up so that they were both sat on the sofa. They broke apart for the briefest of moments in which Sirius hastily removed his jumper and helped Remus out of his jacket.
“Probably about as long as I’ve wanted,” Remus rasped. Sirius couldn’t hold in a moan when Remus pulled him down to rest between Remus’ legs. How he ended up here, with Remus’ arms holding tightly around his neck, Sirius wasn’t sure. He knew for certain that it was better than he had ever imagined and made everything he had experienced before pale in comparison. If Sirius got absolutely nothing for Christmas, his birthday, or any other day ever again, he wouldn’t care in the slightest. Remus was all he wanted.
“All He Wants”
“What’s that?” Sirius asked as they both lay on their respective beds. It was late evening a few days after Christmas. The holidays had passed without much incident. Each had received presents from their fellow Marauders as well as their parents. Although, Sirius could have done without ’Muggle Killing through the Ages’ and ’How the Rise of Muggleborns is Affecting Wizarding Society’ that his parents, most likely his crazy mother, had sent.
“Nothing,” Remus mumbled too quickly for Sirius’ liking. “Just a letter I got this morning.”
After staying up late into the night, spending hours just kissing – well kissing and some touching, touching mainly over clothing, well Sirius’ hands had stayed outside of their clothes, one of Remus’ hands had strayed underneath and stroked Sirius’ chest and he had damn near come on the spot – Sirius had been far too comfortable in bed to drag himself out and go downstairs for breakfast. Remus had insisted that he was going to go and resolutely refused to be pulled under the covers no matter how much Sirius protested and tugged at his arm.
Apparently in their time apart Remus had received the letter.
“Your parents forget to say something at Christmas?”
“No, wasn’t them.”
“It wasn’t the Ministry was it?” Sirius asked worriedly, propping himself up on his side. He knew that Remus would have to go in and answer questions, go through a series of tests and register properly, but that wouldn’t be before Remus came of age, right?
“No, no, nothing like that.” Remus forced a smile. Sirius knew it wasn’t a proper one. It far too closely resembled the ones that Remus gave him the nights after the full moon when he attempted to trick them into thinking he was fine and nothing hurt. “It was just Lily.”
“Oh.” The green-eyed monster began to rear its fiery head. “I’m guessing it wasn’t about prefect duties or Christmas.” He tried to sound casual. They were just friends after all; it wasn’t as though she and Remus were anything more. Not like he and Remus were. Not that they had put a name on it yet.
“She, erm,” Remus shifted uncomfortably on his bed, “she wants to go to Hogsmeade with me on the next trip.”
“Well owl her back and tell her ‘no’.”
“I can’t do that! I’m going to do this my way, not yours.”
“You bloody well can! You just write: ‘sorry Lils, I’m actually with Sirius and so can’t just go around dating you’ and that’s the end of it.”
“Not by owl, Sirius. I can’t just tell her by owl that the mistletoe was the only reason I would ever kiss her or let her kiss me. That’s not the sort of thing you tell people in the post.”
Sirius vaulted up into a seated position, looking incredulously over at Remus on his bed. “So you’re just going to let her believe that she has a chance? What if she just keeps writing and expects you to like her back? I don’t understand why you just didn’t set her straight at the time!”
“There wasn’t time to. She had to go and get the train.”
“You could have gone after her,” Sirius said dejectedly. He got to his feet and started pacing. The movement helped him think.
“I didn’t think to. I didn’t think anything would come of it,” Remus sighed.
“Was kissing me a mistake?”
“You keep saying how with Lily it was just the mistletoe. Is that how it is with me?” Sirius stopped walking to look properly at Remus.
“No! How could you even think that?”
“I don’t know what else to think!”
Remus slipped off his bed and padded across the floor to Sirius. When he reached out to touch him, Sirius pulled back.
“I need time to think.” Sirius turned to leave their room. He didn’t plan on going far, just downstairs to put some space between them and think things through. The room was making him feel claustrophobic. This Remus was making him not want to be there.
Sirius reached for the door handle.
“I summoned the mistletoe!”
Sirius’ hand clenched closed before it touched the door.
“I wanted to kiss you, but I wasn’t sure if you liked me back or if it was all just wishful thinking on my part, so when we were in the Three Broomsticks, I summoned it in the hopes that maybe you would kiss me and that it would be easier to talk about. I wanted you to kiss me. I wanted to kiss you.”
Sirius wasn’t sure when Remus had moved, but when a hand tentatively touched his elbow, he was startled.
“Sirius? Look at me please.”
An encouraging tug of his sleeve accompanied the words. He turned to face Remus. The other boy looked at him almost fearfully. That Sirius could have walked out on him seemed to have shaken Remus. Heated words were often exchanged between the four of them. It was just how it went with teenagers and raging hormones and full moons. This was different.
“I love you. Somewhere along the line friendship turned into something more and I fell in love with you,” Remus continued. “So I didn’t say anything about it, but neither did you. I don’t always share things with people, Sirius, you know that. I’m used to keeping things to myself. Please say something. I can’t stand fighting with you.”
“I was going to say something. I’d been planning it for weeks. Convinced James that he was fine to go with his parents and that I’d be fine here with you. Then I came upstairs and saw you and Lily and it hurt so much. It had no reason to, because you weren’t doing anything wrong, but Merlin, I love you too, so much, and I couldn’t stand to think of it.”
Remus pulled him tightly into a hug. “I’m sorry. I’ll tell her as soon as she gets back, I promise. Just please let me do it in person.”
Sirius looped his arms around Remus’ waist and pulled him closer. He leant his head on Remus’ shoulder and nodded.
Sirius faced the end of the holidays with far greater trepidation than the beginning. It was nothing to do with school work starting back up; instead it was nearly all due to Lily. Remus had promised to tell her and Sirius believed that he would. However, that didn’t prevent him from worrying. If Lily was going to know, then that meant they’d have to tell Prongs and Wormtail too. James was his brother, as good as at least. He couldn’t keep things from him. Their reaction was what worried Sirius. Telling James how he felt about Remus wasn’t something that had come up before this point. Turning around and casually mentioning you’d rather get into the pants of one of your best mates and not the knickers of one of the girls just didn’t happen.
Staring into the fire - slumped over, forearms resting on his thighs, his fingers laced together - Sirius thought over what he was going to say. Dealing with Lily was all up to Remus really. At least that wasn’t on him to do. The girl was intimidating and he had no desire to get on her bad side. That should be the privilege of Prongs alone. His responsibility was to deal with James. He supposed he cared what Peter thought too, but it wasn’t on the same level. If Remus had rejected him, he’d have licked his wounds for the remainder of the holidays, plastered on a smile and tried to pretend there wasn’t anything wrong. If Peter had a problem with him - or them, rather - liking boys then Sirius would likely just make a point of kissing Remus in front of him until he damn well got used to it. If James couldn’t stand to be around him because of Remus, then Sirius just had no idea what he would do. There was more likely to be tension with James, or rather, he would be the one to vocalise his thoughts if he had a problem. A question as to whether his arse has been looked at. A reprimand for not telling him sooner. A demand as to what his intentions towards Remus were. There was an unspoken agreement between Sirius and James to look out for Remus. Both knew that Remus would hate it if they thought him weak, but both still endeavoured to avoid giving him more to worry about than necessary.
“Sirius?” He was broken out of his reflection by Remus who had come down from their room. He was dressed in one of Sirius’ jumpers. Remus had quickly taken to stealing them, not only were they warmer, but Sirius liked how he looked in them – especially that one patch of skin on Remus’ neck that his eyes were always drawn to, his lips as well in fact. After a quick peck on the cheek, Remus settled himself cross-legged on the sofa facing Sirius. “Stop worrying about what James will think.”
“I’m n... How could you tell?”
“Because you always bugger off and stubbornly insist on dealing with things on your own when you’re stressed about something. You seem to forget that we’re in this together now. We’ll tell him together, and he’ll be just fine with it.”
Sirius didn’t understand how Remus could be so sure about things, but when he rubbed at Sirius’ shoulder like that, relieving tension he had not known he carried, he found that he trusted Remus not to steer him wrong.
A bang. Sirius flinched. Remus moved back. Neither looked away from the other as the returning students stomped their way back into their sanctuary.
“Oi! Padfoot! Have you lazy gits even bothered moving the entire time?” An even louder interruption than the other students was James. Gangly limbs and no personal space boundaries, found James wedging himself in between Sirius and Remus. Half-sitting on Sirius, he slung his right arm around Remus. “Hey Remus. You wearing Sirius’ jumper? You didn’t let him just mope around missing me all week did you? I know it’s difficult without me around, but surely you two found something to do without my glorious presence.”
Peter perched on the arm of the sofa closest to Remus.
“We were just fine without you, James. We are capable of being left alone. I wouldn’t mope over your arse being gone anyway.” Sirius said, giving James a small shove to get him off him. He would have landed on Remus, only Remus stood at just the right moment and managed to dodge a lap full of James.
“I, erm, I need to speak with Lily about prefect stuff. Be back in a minute.”
Sirius watched Remus walk over to Lily. He felt the sofa dip as Peter slipped into the place Remus had vacated. James was babbling about something, most likely Lily, but he just couldn’t find it in him to listen. All he could do was watch Remus. Remus who was running a hand through his hair, his feet fidgeting and rocking onto the outer arch and Sirius was certain that Remus’ voice quavered when he greeted Lily.
There was no way he could do it. He couldn’t just let Remus face her on his own. Not after Remus had insisted they would talk to James together.
Sirius didn’t bother to excuse himself. He just stood and walked over to where Remus and Lily were talking.
“Do you mind, Black? Remus and I are having a conversation. You’ve had him for the whole of the holidays.” Lily was not pleased at all to be interrupted.
“Actually, Evans,” Sirius made sure to put emphasis on her surname if that was how she was going to address him, “I’d rather be here for the conversation.” He put an arm around Remus’ shoulder and felt Remus relax at the touch.
She shot a glance at Remus that blatantly said ‘get rid of him’, but Remus just instinctively backed into the embrace.
“I’d prefer Sirius stay,” Remus told her. Sirius felt Remus take a deep breath, ready to say something now that Sirius was there with him. Tightening his grip, Sirius hoped Remus got the message that he was there for him no matter how ugly the conversation may turn out to be.
Sirius swivelled quickly and saw James striding over towards them. He didn’t let go of Remus. Could they not even get a minute without James interrupting? This didn’t bode well for the future.
“I know you need Remus for prefecting and whatnot, but can I not keep my best friend for a minute? I need to tell him how all the girls flung themselves at me when I was on holiday.”
Sirius was pretty sure James wanted him to comment on that, slap him on the back and congratulate him, but all he could think of was how Prongs had clearly lost what left of his mind. He just couldn’t get over the words that sometimes came out of his friend’s mouth. Lily was supposed to fall in love with him when he said these things?
“First of all, Potter, Sirius came and stuck his nose in where it wasn’t wanted. I certainly didn’t ask him to come over here. Secondly, you’re disgusting.” With that, Lily retreated up to the girls’ dormitory without a backward glance.
“What in Merlin’s name made you think that would work?” Sirius asked open-mouthed.
James looked crestfallen at having had Lily walk away from him again. That he hadn’t been on the receiving end of a hex made Sirius think James should be over the moon.
“I thought maybe she’d think if other girls were interested in me that she’d get jealous. There was this book I found that said girls liked that sort of thing,” James sighed and fluffed his hair up in a way Sirius knew was an unconscious thing for him when perplexed. “I don’t know what else to do.”
“Not that. Not with Lily.” Sirius gave Remus’ shoulder a squeeze before he let go and slung his arm around James instead. “Tell me about these girls then,” Sirius said and steered James back over to Peter who would undoubtedly want the blow-by-blow account and Sirius did not plan on listening more than once.
“That’s the thing,” James said looking even more downtrodden, “there weren’t any.”
Sirius couldn’t help it. He laughed. James glared at him, but Sirius couldn’t stop. “James, mate, I love you, but you are a complete and utter plonker at times.”
For a while, the four of them just spent time catching up with one another. Neither Remus nor Sirius said anything about their change in situation. If they were behaving any differently to normal towards one another, then Sirius did not realise he was doing it. His gaze often wandered to Remus, but that was something he had often done before. However, when Remus looked up and caught Sirius staring, he didn’t turn away, instead they shared a secret smile.
Remus peeled away from the group once more. This time Peter went with him. Sirius stayed with James.
Remus was teaching Peter how to play Wizard’s Chess. James and Sirius had given up on him as a lost cause, but even though Remus wasn’t a brilliant player himself, he had the patience to help Peter because he wanted to learn. It took a little bit of time for Sirius to notice who Peter was playing against, mainly because from his position, he was getting the perfect view of Remus’ arse whenever he bent over to give Peter advice on how to proceed. Lily had come back downstairs and was Peter’s opponent.
As Sirius was watching Lily, Lily was looking at Remus. Just staring at him. Sirius was sure Remus hadn’t noticed.
With the pretence of going to check how the match was going, Sirius went over to the table. Lily glanced up and made an annoyed huffing noise when she realised it was him. He slipped behind Remus, close enough for the other boy to know he was there, but not touching; not yet.
“No, Peter, move the knight,” Remus suggested, completely absorbed with the game.
Peter did as Remus told him. Sirius could see Lily only had a few moves to go before she beat them. The game had lasted a lot longer than normal though. He watched as Lily made her next move, and then when she looked back up, Sirius made sure to make a big show of putting his arm around Remus’ shoulders.
“Oh, hello,” Remus said leaning his head back and looking up at Sirius, a contented smile on his face. Sirius smiled back and wrapped his other arm around Remus holding him tight. It took him a moment to realise they had an audience, and he looked back up, half-wanting Lily to not be looking, yet also hoping she was so that she would know. She was paying attention to them. Lily’s mouth dropped open in surprised realisation.
“It’s your move, Lily,” Peter prompted. She stared at them for a moment longer before getting back to the game. Her shock seemingly keeping her silent. Remus tensed in his arms, but Sirius didn’t let him go.
“Damn it,” Peter sighed. “Good game though, Lily.”
“I think we need to talk,” Remus said once Peter was out of earshot having gone back to commiserate his loss with James. “There seems to have been some crossed wires.”
“Why didn’t you tell me? If I’d have known he actually liked you back I would never have even tried anything!” Lily’s face that had been impassive up until that point, now showed her amusement. A far cry from what Sirius had been expecting as he would not have been such a graceful loser.
“You knew!” Remus gasped. “If you knew that I liked him why did you try anyway?”
“I was hoping you might have liked me too,” she said with a shrug. “Let’s face it, there aren’t that many decent guys in our year.” Lily looked in the direction of James, but didn’t say anything further. “I’m happy for you, if you’re happy.”
“Good.” She smiled, stood and made as though to take a step towards them. Sirius was certain she wanted to hug Remus, but given the fact he was rather wrapped up in Sirius she didn’t have the option. “Although, to make it up to me and letting me think I had a chance, you can take all of the late night prefect rounds!” Lily laughed.
Sirius wanted to protest that taking his alone time with Remus away wasn’t fair on him either, but then it did seem like a small price to pay compared to the tongue-lashings she normally gave James. Then again, he could always sneak off with James’ Invisibility Cloak...
“I’ll leave the two of you to it,” Lily said before going over to join the other girls in their year who looked interested in what had taken place between the three of them.
They stood there for a moment. Sirius not wanting to let Remus go. He knew the next step. Had James seen some of what had transpired? Had he already worked it out?
With a sigh, Sirius reluctantly let go of Remus and turned back to face James and Peter. The two boys were still on the sofa. Both looking at Remus and Sirius. Neither looked horrified, which was a good sign. James even looked a little bemused.
“Ready,” he confirmed.